Janesville60.8°

Havin’ what it takes

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Rick Horowitz
October 7, 2008

Let me see if I’ve got this straight: Sarah Palin is saying we don’t know enough about Barack Obama?


Sarah Palin, who six weeks ago did not yet exist for 99 percent of the American people? Sarah Palin, whose biography even now consists of a handful of adjectives and anecdotes, half of which (“I said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’”) are themselves distortions or outright fabrications?


Sarah Palin is saying we don’t know enough about Barack Obama?!


That Sarah Palin?

That Sarah Palin.


She seems to have convinced herself that making it through one vice-presidential debate without doing any further damage to her reputation—which is to say, without spontaneously combusting right there on stage—now gives her sufficient standing to question Barack Obama’s background, character, honesty, patriotism. Which she’s only too happy to do, over and over again.


She doesn’t think that’s just a little bit screwy?


She doesn’t think.


* * *


The camera loves Sarah Palin. Darn right it does! You betcha!


The microphone? Not so much.


Folksy is nice. I like folksy. But a little folksy goes a long way with me. With most people. It’s fine if you’re putting on a revival of “Li’l Abner.” Hey! Golly!!


For running a national government in difficult times? That’s a different matter. And it’s no substitute for…for…


What’s that word I’m looking for?


For knowledge. For knowin’ stuff.


And watching Sarah Palin over these past six weeks—from her great convention speech, to stumbling around with Charlie Gibson, to imploding with Katie Couric, to surviving a debate with Joe Biden—you had to notice:


She still hasn’t given any sign that she actually knows anything about anything.


I take that back: She knows something about energy. Or at least about pipelines, and drilling. Which is why she kept trying to turn the debate conversation back to energy every chance she got. (Regardless of the question she’d been asked.)


The rest of it was just talking points. Memorized. And only one answer deep.


That just doesn’t cut it—not for a vice president, let alone a potential president.


We’ve already tried unapologetically shallow and proudly incurious with the current Oval Office occupant. How’s that working out?


* * *


“She came across like everybody!”—that’s what someone was saying on one of those post-debate TV panels of uncommitted voters.


“She sounds just like me!” That’s the other one you keep hearing—“She sounds just like me!” That’s nice.


Maybe she can be Secretary of Next-Door Neighbor.


But—no offense—I don’t want someone who’s “just like me” to be vice president of the United States, any more than I’d want someone who’s “just like me” to be my dentist, or my heart surgeon, or my air-traffic controller. I’d want someone who’s qualified.

Unless you think that all the problems we’re facing in this country are so simple that anyone can solve them. You don’t really think that, do you?


I didn’t think so.


That’s not elitist. And it’s certainly not sexist. There are plenty of highly talented, highly qualified women out there—in government service, in community organizations, in business, in the media. Women who absolutely know their stuff.

Sarah Palin—perky, feisty, folksy Sarah Palin—just doesn’t happen to be one of them.


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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